Doody’s Speech at Grant Adams’ Comrades MS Challenge Golf Day Dinner29/04/2018
Radio Interview with Kevin Minter-Brown21/05/2018
Comrades Test Run - 52km in 6 hours!
Saturday was the official Comrades Test Run. This race covers about 80% of the Comrades route’s hills.
I learnt a great deal on the road on Saturday.
I saw 12 things:
- I saw a schoolboy error
We were up at 230am and started at 500am, in a dark, freezing, 4 degree Pmb. While runners on the road get warm quickly, sitting in a 3-wheeler, you don’t. For the first 3 hours it was dreadful. My joints ached, I couldn’t balance, and my legs wouldn’t work. But I didn’t complain. I couldn’t. These mates weren’t out there, at that time, in the dark and cold, for themselves. I reminded myself that they were there for my dream, not theirs. I also reminded myself how it’s a crime, in some countries, to be this damn handsome. Both points, got me through.
- I saw friendship
Mike Rocky, Andrew’s mate, not only ran, but pushed as well! Mike’s now going to join the Big G Team on Comrades Day Zero. He also told me I chatted way too much! I reminded him that, if he wants to be famous, I’ll let him know when his comments will be needed! I have emailed him a set of “Big G’s Rules of what, and what not, to say”. He’ll be tested at the next run, and I’ll revert back to everyone. Loved having you there Mike.
- I saw a connection
A runner, Greig Tanner, joined us a few kms in. Although we never knew Greig, I felt he came over to us as there was a connection. Greig’s son has cerebral palsy, and he pushes him in 21km races. After a long discussion, he now plans to get his son a Comrades medal in the next down run, in 2020. That made me feel wonderful. Andrew - what you started is snowballing into another wonderful dream, for a young man. Greig planned to run 20kms but ran, and pushed, the 52kms with us. Loved having you there Greig.
- I saw a myth dispelled
Sitting in the chair hurts tremendously. The nerve pain is intense, and I feel every single one of the bumps, potholes, and even cats eyes, on the uneven road. At one stage, in the first 3 hours, I swear I thought that Andrew was doing it to take the piss. I know he wasn’t but, when you’re in pain, you’re searching for someone else to blame - not your own body.
- I saw a whole lot of support - runners come from all walks of life.
Everyone we pass, or who pass us, say “well done; keep it up; wonderful what you’re doing for your mate, etc”. People care. It’s wonderful.
- I saw that music is essential
Even though we discuss every topic under the sun for 6 hours, we need music. We had a speaker and we played some crackerjack, pump-me-up music. We all have a music playlist for gym, running, and exercise, that turns us from Celine Dion into an Aretha Franklin; and from a church mouse into a Grizzly Bear. I was DJ Grizzly Bear yesterday - an on-fire, damn handsome Grizzly Bear, running the tunes like I was at Slippers Boogie Palace, Robert E Lee, and the Cattleman.
- I saw little acts of kindness
The first 3 hours I struggled tremendously with the cold and pain. With MS, you can really appreciate the small things in life, as many of them are robbed from you. I longed for a cappuccino. So, Greig’s wife’s friend drove, met us 30mins later, with a magnificent cappuccino. After it, I felt a million dollars.
- I saw groupies
I’m not exaggerating when I say, I am developing some groupies, similar to The Rolling Stones groupies, but much more focused. I can’t blame them. They’re only human. They see the handsome one, and it’s all over.
- I saw a whole host of emotions run through me on Saturday
These started with excitement when waking up and getting to the start line. To dreading the rest of the race, as the first 3 hours were so difficult. To a little envy, as I watched my mates all enjoy the run, knowing that, although I’m there, I’ll never run again. And I loved running. To mixed emotions - I sometimes feel like I’m treading on their turf, muscling in on their run, taking part of their Comrades glory away. I know they don’t think that but, at times. I sometimes do.
- I saw no class structure or race
I saw a packed taxi pull over, and shout encouraging words; I saw 3 runners sing the words to Vulindlela, the song we were playing at the time. They loved it. And so did we. We had a “moment” with these guys. We were the same. There were no politics out there. Just runners, with the same goal, enjoying the road together.
- I saw Doody
She ran with us the last few kms. Doody, Matt, and Jess are the reason I fight so hard. “As long as I have breath in my body, you’ll never be alone in this world”.
- I saw a very lucky guy
I’m very lucky. I have people in my corner. I have friends, who are patient and kind. I have a wonderful, caring community. I have a family that cares, and needs me. And, most importantly, I am so damn handsome!
There are so may people to thank but I have to give a Special Shout-Out to Andrew Murray and Kev Phillips. Without them physically being there on the day I litterally would not get through the races!
Today, I am shattered. MS is lonely. But, today, I don’t feel alone. I feel good.
The handsome one, and Best Braaier in World.